Mumbai rest bowlers after assuring progression
Mumbai 645 for 9 decl. (Jaffer 150, Nayar 132, Tendulkar 108) and 171 for 1 (Pawar 70*, Hiken Shah 65*) lead Baroda 271 (Rayudu 89*) by 545 runs
Mumbai began the day needing five good balls or mistakes from Baroda; they got more than that by lunch, which was good enough to assure them of a semi-final place with five sessions to go. In fact, they produced six of them, but Ajit Agarkar dropped a simple catch from Ambati Rayudu, who went on to score an unbeaten 89, an effort highly inadequate in the larger scheme of things: Mumbai sealed a lead of 374 and proceeded to bat for the rest of the day.
Debutant left-arm spinner Vishal Dabholkar began the fall of wickets as an uncertain Pinal Shah was stumped in the 15th over of the day to make it 188 for 6. Left-hand batsmen Gagandeep Singh and Ketul Patel both fell to the other left-arm spinner, Ankeet Chavan. Watching the spinners do well, Agarkar stayed away from taking the new ball, but his hand would have been forced at the end of 100 overs. The new ball was taken in the 100th over, and Javed Khan produced the last two wickets, even as Rayudu fought with a few graceful shots.
As expected, Mumbai didn't enforce the follow-on because there is no incentive in Ranji Trophy to go for an outright win in the knockouts. The bowlers are anyway overworked with a crazy schedule, and teams choose to expose them to as little sun as possible. Consequently, the rest of the match was reduced to a net in the middle. Mumbai faced 51 overs of batting practice, during which they lost the wicket of Wasim Jaffer. Kaustubh Pawar and Hiken Shah helped themselves to pressure-free fifties, and Mumbai's lead with one day to go was a whopping 545 runs.
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo